I have had a thought in my mind lately on where our nation is heading. I am quite concerned with the future, but I believe the place to begin is not with looking at the future. The place to begin is not even where we are at. The place to begin is quite simply, at the beginning, and we must do so by learning our past.
I was talking to someone today about the movie 300. I never saw this movie, but he was with some others and he was saying, “It was a good movie, but I didn’t like the ending.” Of course, I told him that they had no way of changing the ending. After all, we have no right to rewrite history.”
At that point, a lady that was with him said, “You mean that happened?” This is one of the moments where I get disgusted. I remember having read about the battle before the movie ever came to the theaters and thinking, “Yeah. I read about that taking place.” Unfortunately, while it disgusts me, I can sadly easily understand it.
We live in a day and an age where history is not known. I have with me copies of Plutarch, Josephus, and Tacitus. I have read works on church history and of course, there are the Scriptures which are the history of the Jewish people. However, our culture today does not know about most of these sources. We know about who is dating who in Hollywood and what’s going on in our favorite soap operas, but we are ignorant of what happened in the past.
It has been said that our culture today knows more about the past 60 hours than the past 60 centuries. We will frequently watch the news or read the newspapers and know everything about the present time, but we have no connection with the time in the past today. Is it any shock that the past consists of people with ancient worldviews who were superstitious?
This is one downfall of our modern world. We are cutting off the past and trying to form our own identity apart from our heritage. Tradition is an accursed word. That means we get rid of the moral ideas and the religious ideas as well. Now naturally, some ideas do need to change. However, this is not because they are old ideas. This is because they are false ones. We do not reject geocentricism because it is older. We reject it because it is false.
The great danger is that our culture has no root and thus, we will simply not survive. Without knowing the past, we are unprepared to face the challenges of today. If you want to understand what is happening in the Middle East, you have to understand what has happened in the history of Muslims and Jews. People who want to handle this situation while divorcing it from its past will only fail.
What is the solution? We need to study history. We need to know about the great cultures of the past and what they did and how they have shaped us. It makes a difference to know why a war was fought and what the thinking was behind X movement. It is essential that we simply not disregard something because it is ancient or what we so naively call “superstitious.”
Unfortunately, our school system doesn’t really do it for us. We must do it ourselves. Go to the bookstore. Buy books on ancient history. If you have another area of interest, study it in history. You can study the history of philosophy or the history of science or economics or politics for instance.
Be assured though that you know about your time in relation to the past. We are not people floating on an island in the sea of time. We have a heritage and we need to learn from it.